Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Rosie's Revamp

In internet time, this is fairly old news, but heck, it's worth giving my two cents on as it's a pretty big development for a character that got little to no attention during the CG makeover. So here are my thoughts on Rosie's re-design!

Some backstory for those new to the franchise or have simply forgotten. Rosie was a character who was introduced during series 10 (2006) and she, inexplicably, became the most popular character from that particular era. This is despite the fact that her story made her out to be a creepy stalker (who came out on top in the end) and her livery was the very antithesis of what a "tomboy" actually is (definition of the word can be seen here).

Since then, she's had a few small roles here and there and starred in an episode from series 12. And... that's about it, really. It reached the point where she was absent from series 20 completely.

But next series, she'll be given a new lease on life: new livery, new role, new home, possibly a tweaked personality and a new voice.

Personally, I'm really looking forward to seeing the new Rosie in action. The livery looks fantastic (although the NWR sticks out like a sore thumb. I like that they're acknowledging that the NWR's a thing, but at least put the lettering on every other engine that belongs to it. Except maybe Duck and Oliver for the sake of heritage) and the rest just sounds intriguing.

However, I can't help but think "hypocrisy" here. In a blog post from SIF's Ryan, he said that the team would rather create a new character than tweak one that fans have perceptions of. This is possibly why Stanley is still a fairly mute background character and they introduced Ryan to fill a role the silver engine could have had. Heck, they even re-created the base plot of The Great Discovery for Ryan.

If that's the case however, why reinvent Rosie when older fans still have perceptions of her and would probably be angry if she was changed in any way? Not only that, but how much of a headache will it be for all the marketing around her to change? It was only two years ago when Drayton Manor altered the faces on their Thomas, Percy and Rosie replicas for the train ride, and now they've got to change that and the Rosie found at Tidmouth Sheds to replicate her current livery?

The writing team are going to need a really good narrative reason to explain this to the target audience. Then again, they didn't exactly bother when Henrietta was given a face back in series 18, so why should we expect them to for another drastic change like Rosie's?

Honestly though, my problem isn't with the hypocrisy of the team (although it is something I thought of while writing this post). My problem is the childish way that a few fans have acted to the change. SIF have a point when they say fans would be angry that characters would be changed, but to act like a child over it is bloody ridiculous!

Rosie needed something in order for her to be relevant again, and the team realised that if they kept everything but her role, fans would just be thinking of the old version from 2006-2016. They knew they needed to do more to move her away from that. There'll still be comparisons, sure, but at least now fans can properly differentiate between the old and new versions of the character.

Also, characters change their appearances in other media constantly. Heck, Thomas & Friends characters have changed a lot throughout the franchise's history. Stuart and Falcon had blue and green liveries before turning red (although this wasn't carried over to the show), Donald and Douglas became blue in the books (they were kept black on TV), Bear turned from blue to green, James turned from black to red, Thomas was green when he arrived in The Adventure Begins and Toby had blue sideplates in the books. Heck, Henry went from green, to blue, back to green and was completely rebuilt, while Thomas had his front straightened out in the books.

So that begs the question: why is a character redesign such a big deal now? For a character who had little going for them to begin with; one who needed a re-invigoration? No one has really been able to explain why, and one fan became so angry that others were challenging his opinion, he left the fanbase and promised to join one that would "appreciate and respect him" (talk about egotism..!).

I said it in the subtitle of this post and I'll say it again: fans need to learn to accept change. If there were none at all, the show would be stagnant and frustrating to watch. Granted, I don't think Thomas as a character needed to change from his Railway Series personality at all, and I think that his old one would be very entertaining in the current era (see the adaptations of Tit for Tat and Mike's Whistle for a case in point), but I can understand why he's been toned down.

My point is fans should really put more faith in the team. They've proven that they know what they're doing on countless occasions, and they'll probably do the same with Rosie too. If you don't like what they do to her? That's fair enough; there are other episodes she's in that you can relieve yourselves over.

All this said, I think it's pretty hilarious that one particular fan is criticising HiT for changing a character they created themselves...

1 comment:

  1. People are either stuck-up and nuts, or just have a pissy-poor way of expressing their opinion without a sense of maturity.
    Personally, I'd like to see Rosie have a more definitive role in Season 21. But if she's gonna have a NWR lettering and people are gonna request that the other characters have the same thing, I'd suggest putting it on the following locations of the engines.

    Thomas - On the back of the cab bunker, below his lamp and between the red frame that's been repainted there, or in smaller lettering on the cab bunker sides.
    Edward - Just below the yellow-framed windows on his cab, both sides, or the tender.
    Henry - On both sides of his redesigned firebox, or the tender.
    Gordon - Same as Edward.
    James - Same as Edward, or somewhere along the boiler.
    Percy - Somewhere along the boiler or below the cab.
    Toby - Anywhere on the front, back, or sides.